Medical advice was recently turned on its head by new research from the American College of Physicians. It claims that hands-on methods are preferred over drugs and surgery for the relief of back pain. This study recommends the use of acupuncture, massage, and yoga as initial treatment modalities. It recommends that, you should only use medications and surgery as a solution if and when these other therapies do not relieve your pain.

Many people support this recommendation. They say they have sought advice and care from practitioners who did not use drugs. In doing so, they found more relief than when they worked with medical doctors. Unfortunately, insurance usually doesn’t cover this “alternative” care. It is still worth inquiring about however, because when you’re referred by your doctor coverage becomes much more likely.

With this information in mind, here are the therapies for back pain that don’t use medications. They are listed in the order of how well they performed and their cost. Of course, your results will vary somewhat based on the number of treatments you receive and regional cost variations as well.

1.Spinal Manipulation



Visiting a chiropractor and occupational therapist who uses controlled force, ranging from mild to firm, to adjust your spine so it moves more easily is also helpful. Essentially, you can think of your back like you would think about rusty door hinges. When you receive an adjustment, the joint loosens up. In doing so, it can move more freely.

It is quite rare that you will hear anyone have serious complications from this treatment modality. As such, medical professionals consider vigorous spinal manipulation safe for anyone who does not suffer from severe osteoporosis of the spine.

Anyone who still has any issues of concern here should know that a licensed chiropractor and occupational therapists earn a four-year degree before they are allowed to practice on patients. This indicates they have a degree in osteopathic medicine.

As such, they focus on primary care, but they do have additional training in regards to your musculoskeletal system. Some of these doctors give spinal manipulation as part of the various treatment modalities they offer.

2.Yoga and Tai Chi



You strengthen the muscles in your abdomen and back as you take part in yoga and tai chi. These exercises also improve your balance and posture. They do this by quieting your mind so you can focus on sitting and moving correctly. This mental quietness also eases your stress and distances you from your pain.

Research suggests these exercises are great for pain that’s lasted for at least three months. Anyone who knows yoga or tai chi can start practising them again soon after a back injury. Otherwise, it is best to wait until you find a certified instructor from either the Tai Chi and Qigong Association or the International Association of Yoga Therapists. They will know what gentle, relaxing classes are best so you do not strain your back any further. In these types of classes, you will learn how to meditate, breathe deeply, and synchronise your physical movements.




Find relief for your tense muscles while increasing the blood flow to your injured areas through massage. This also triggers the release of endorphins – hormones that make you feel better by decreasing stress and anxiety and thus relieving your pain.

Make sure you find a licensed masseuse who’s trained in the art and science of giving an effective massage. In particular, you want someone who’s trained in sports medicine or who has experience working with patients who are experiencing back pain. This way you are not wincing in pain. It is also helpful to tell your masseuse how much pressure feels good and what’s too intense.

4.Physical Therapy



This treatment modality focuses on improving your ability to do your daily activities. It also teaches you how to prevent future back problems. Typically a physical therapist does this by showing you various ways to stretch and strengthen your back. Sometimes massage and low-level laser therapy are also used.

Although you are probably afraid of making your pain or injury worse, you should know that physical therapy is challenging. Make sure you trust your physical therapist will help you get up and moving again. This is important because they will challenge you by using a variety of things including:

-Weight and repetitions that increase as your body grows accustomed to doing them

-A variety of new exercises

-Hot and cold packs to warm up the tissues found deep in your body

-Ultrasound treatments for faster healing




This Eastern form of thought teaches that by inserting needles at specific points throughout your body, you will correct any energy (qi) that isn’t flowing correctly. Western perspective explains this treatment modality lessens pain through its effect on soft tissues and nerves. Some believe it activates nerves to interrupt pain signals when they are travelling through your spinal cord to your brain.

Make sure that when you opt for this treatment, you seek out an acupuncturist who is licensed in your area. Acupuncture should never be painful. However, it is normal to feel a slight twitch when the practitioner inserts the needles into your skin. This is a perfectly safe treatment as long as you work with someone who is licensed and who uses sterile needles.